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Juvenile Discogenic Disease

Heithoff, Kenneth B., MD*; Gundry, Cooper R., MD*; Burton, Charles V., MD, FACS; Winter, Robert B., MD

Ergonomics, Imaging, Spinal Cord Monitoring: PDF Only

This study was undertaken to document an association of degenerative lumbar disc disease in patients with thoracolumbar Scheuermann's disease. During a 3-month period, 9% of 1419 of the persons referred to our center for magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine demonstrated changes of both thoracolumber Scheuermann's disease and degenerative disc disease in the lower lumbar spine. The disease was less commonly detected on computed tomography (2% of 1522 patients). The patients were relatively young: 81% were younger than 40 years and 9% were younger than 21 years. We theorize that the thoracolumbar Scheuer mann's disease and the associated degenerative disc disease of the lower lumber spine are manifestations of an intrinsic defect of the discs and/or cartilaginous end plates, which results in inadequate nutrition and structural weakness or a combination of both, and early degeneration.

*Center for Diagnostic Imaging, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, †Institute for Low Back Care, ‡Minnesota Spine Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.